‘Preventive maintenance ensures print quality and durability of hardware’

-says Peter Hultberg, chief commercial officer, Baldwin Technology Company in an exclusive conversation with SK Khurana, editor P&P, during his recent visit to India

A global supplier of process automation equipment and related high performance consumables for the print industry, Baldwin Technology Company Inc continues serving in newspaper, sheetfed, commercial web, flexographic and digital pressrooms to transform production with their extensive product lines and systems. Headquartered in the US, Baldwin has operations strategically located in major print media markets and distributes its products via its extensive global sales and service infrastructure. Now operating under the new ownership after its acquisition by Forsyth Baldwin LLC, an entity owned by Forsyth Capital Investors LLC, the company has efficiently been offering its customers the ability to bring new market opportunities to their business by enhancing the quality of printed products and improving the economic and environmental efficiency of the printing process.

Stability in operations…

Samir Gupta, operations manager, Baldwin India with Peter Hultberg, chief commercial officer, Baldwin Technology Company.“The new owner Forsyth Baldwin LLC initiated 50 acquisitions in the last 25 years, and none of them was resold, which gives confidence to our customers about the stable continuity of our operations,” conveyed Peter Hultberg, on asking about the future of Baldwin under the new ownership. “Adequate funds have been allocated for R&D and strengthening operations in developing markets like India by the new investors, which certainly boost our morale. As of today, due to market slowdown, most of the companies are reducing their staff across the world, but not Baldwin. We have no plans for headcount reduction,” he added.

Baldwin’s technology and products include cleaning systems, fluid management and ink control systems, web press protection systems, drying and curing systems and related consumables. “Going a step ahead at drupa 2012, we launched highly-engineered technology for spray dampening, UV and LED UV curing, water management, cylinder cleaning and gluing applications, and received good response,” mentioned Peter.

OEMs vs retrofitting

“Presently, demand for our products is growing effectively, with a 50:50 sale ratio with OEMs and retrofitting. Though OEMs channel of sale is growing well, we are emphasizing on direct sale in terms of retrofitting. Through direct sale, we shall be able not only to increase our business significantly but also we could come rather close to the end users and thus provide better service by understanding their specific needs. This will enhance their efficiency making printing smooth while improving quality for sure,” said Peter. “With the process of retrofitting on existing presses, our products ensure startup waste reduction, apart from ink and water saving,” he added.

Looking at India…

“The manufacturing capacity of our Chinese facility, a hundred percent subsidiary of Baldwin, is 500 percent bigger than that in India. While in India, our manufacturing operation is based on joint venture model, nevertheless we follow the same business norms and values in dealing with both the facilities. Right now in Indian market, we are manufacturing only three types of products for sheetfed/webfed presses, while internationally we have around 50 products in our portfolio,” mentioned Peter. New dampening system launched at drupa 2012 may soon be initiated towards manufacturing in India.”

Talking about challenges being faced in India, Peter underlined, “Cost is already a major challenge in the Indian market, but we have been succeeding providing value for money, serving our customers for longer duration. We also offer opportunities to train operators for upgrading. This is why we have already sold around 1000 spray bars in India.” “We also are in the process of increasing more sales/service staff in our Indian manufacturing setup,” added Peter.

‘But if the quality of Baldwin’s products is so high, why there are frequent failures in systems involving the need of ‘service people’ was the obvious question for Peter. Replying further on this, he mentioned that lack of maintenance schedule becomes the major reason for servicing requirement that frequently. Additionally printers generally don’t prefer to go for AMCs (annual maintenance contracts), etc, which otherwise offer preventive checks by default.”

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